Key messages from the Cheshire and Merseyside Directors of Public Health meeting – Friday 23rd April 2021

The Cheshire & Merseyside (C&M) Directors of Public Health (DsPH) currently meet for weekly calls. The key messages from the 23rd April meeting are as follows:

  • ADPH president joins DsPH – The ADPH president Jeanelle de Gruchy joined the DsPH to talk about public health reform, travel/new variants and testing. Jeanelle commented that DsPH are in a good position to influence the new architecture for public health and advised they continue to advocate for what model would work best in C&M. The DsPH will have a dedicated session to further design this alongside colleagues at PHE, already working on a regional model. DsPH thanked Jeanelle for her leadership during the pandemic and for advocating on behalf of local DsPH.
  • PHE COVID-19 update – Sam Ghebrehewet updated that the numbers are still very low in all areas and C&M is lower than the rest of the North West. PHE is carefully monitoring the new variants and were asked to explore the percentage of cases related to travel.
  • COVID-19 vaccination update – Matt Ashton, DPH Liverpool, highlighted medium and longer term scenario planning for vaccinations is being developed. Focus for the coming weeks is on second doses due to vaccine shortage and the strategic ambition is for 95% coverage. The lead of the C&M social care cell will be attending a future meeting to discuss best practice to increase uptake.
  • Testing – There have been some issues with residents not being able to input their postcode to submit test results into the system which Sam Ghebrehewet will raise.  The national team for testing will be attending a future DsPH meeting to give an update.
  • Screening and immunisation update – Julie Kelly from NHSE/I updated that they are awaiting plans for managing seasonal flu and Covid. She will also work with DPH in Knowsley, Sarah McNulty, on a reporting cycle for DsPH going forward.
  • Events pilot – Matt Ashton shared plans for holding various events in Liverpool which would be limited in capacity and require people to have a negative test before attending and a PCR test afterwards. The results will be analysed by Liverpool University.
  • Good news and gratitude:
  • The DsPH welcomed Ruth du Plessis in her new role as DPH for St Helens.
  • The vaccine bus has been successfully implemented in Liverpool and will be rolled out in Knowsley next week.
  • Eileen O’Meara, DPH Halton and Sarah O’Brien (Director of Strategy & System Development at C&M Health & Care Partnership) have been invited to present at the Kings Fund Population Health conference in June on the population health work delivered to date and future priorities.